What’s Just Happened? – A Narrative

Down the long corridor the young woman stumbled. She couldn’t remember the last few minutes before coming here, yet she knew where she was now. She was at the hospital. Though her mind was still cloudy she had a hunch just what had happened, within those few moments she could not recall. No question about it really. She had had a seizure. The young woman was used to these dreaded spells by now, having experienced them at different intervals over the past several years. She could never remember a seizure when it happened and yet she had picked up on signs within herself, that let her know that one had gripped it’s ugly and all-powerful hold over her. It didn’t take a brain surgeon, she thought, to put two and two together. When she seemingly can’t recall moments in time, or had lost bits and pieces of conversations she tried to have, she knew. That was when a seizure had taken control.

Rendering her completely helpless to her own body’s will, that’s what she detested most about these damn seizures. She could scarcely even ride a city bus without wondering if she’d be incapacitated by a seizure. So far she hadn’t had that problem arise in daily life. Yet it was always a possibility.

Now as she made her way towards the triage nurse’s station, the woman sighed resoundingly. This was her life after all. All she could do about the situation was sit and wait. Soon the doctor would come call for her. They’d take her into an examination room and check her out from top to bottom. Then they’d give her medication if need be and send her on her way. Home. To await the next time when she would have to return.


Trouble Shooter Julie Matthews Likes Seeing Results (Profile on Julie Matthews!)

Most people spend their day trying to stay out of trouble. Global Edmonton’s Julie Matthews goes looking for it, on a daily basis. Receiving anywhere from fifty to a hundred emails a day and just as many phone calls to her Trouble Shooter hotline, Matthews keeps a jam-packed schedule.

With only a handful of Trouble Shooter positions available throughout Canadian news outlets the Trouble Shooter is in popular demand. There are up to a hundred calls and emails daily to the Trouble Shooter with problems that range from issues with moving companies to online romance scams.

Matthews got her start in journalism working at the CBC station in Lloydminster, Alberta as a radio and television reporter and anchor. After Lloydminster, she worked at a TV station in Lethbridge and then travelled to Kelowna, B.C to work at a station there.

When the Trouble Shooter position became available at Global Edmonton, Matthews seized the opportunity. She wanted to be closer to her family and fiancé so packed up and returned to Alberta.

Growing up in Bruderheim, Matthews always possessed an interest in public speaking and newspaper print journalism. Matthews was unaware there were courses available to enter into television news. It was a high school guidance counsellor that told Matthews about the Radio and Television Arts program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton.

When asked about her job as a consumer advocate on Global and her past jobs as a journalist, Matthews said that with most of her past jobs, there was investigative journalism work she got to work on. When it comes to being a consumer advocate Matthews has said what she enjoys most is getting to meet new people every day and hear them tell their stories. “It’s the results that I can get for people, that is most important to me.”

Matthews approaches her job with diplomacy in mind. “There are two sides to every story. Quite often I end up being a mediator for some situations as they turn out to be misunderstandings.”

Matthews has said that she enjoys doing a variety of consumer stories. She works on everything from consumer education to hard hitting news stories. Her focus however, is on helping people. “If I can do that best with a hard hitting, investigative piece, then I do.”  Yet Matthews also has said that often the everyday problems and frustrations of consumers are best served by news stories that showcase their problem and educate others. “I love the education element.”

With sixteen years of experience in journalism, the thirty-five year old journalist has been with Global Edmonton for seven and a half years. Matthews has no plans currently to leave her job.

Matthews has won a number of awards for her reporting. Most recently were two Alberta Consumer Champion Awards from Service Alberta for stories on protecting car buyers and educating consumers on the processes involved with civil court. When she was working in Kelowna at Global’s sister station CHBC, she earned herself a regional Radio-Television News Directors Association award for a story she did into life on the front lines with a forest fire attack crew.

Matthews has said one of the things she enjoys about her job is getting to see things through. Being a consumer advocate Matthews has the chance to see situations come to resolution. At times she can also get to see any follow up that needs to be made, to a story she has worked on.

“I have fallen in love with my job as a trouble shooter. I can’t really see myself in any other job.”

Matthews includes her reporting on internet romance scams and the Taber school shooting as some of the more memorable stories she has covered as a reporter.

Matthews grew up watching Global Edmonton, then ITV. During her time away from her work at Global, her family operates its own business. Matthews also has two young sons that keep her busy.

Helping others is what motivates Matthews to continue her work as Global Edmonton’s Trouble Shooter.

“For every unpleasant person I have to deal with, there are many more wonderful and thankful consumers who are very happy that I do the work that I do.  I do this job for them.”

Any Questions??

I have recently resurrected my blog interview series “Interview with a Journalist.” Well now it’s your turn, to be the interviewer. Surely the readers of this blog must have some questions about me. Whether it be about my disability or various diagnosis’ or hopes and aspirations. Maybe you just want to know what I ate for breakfast (The answer is nothing by the way, I ordinarily don’t eat breakfast).

So the floor is open to you all. Have any questions for me? Big or small, I’ll try my best to answer them all.

Put your questions down in the comments section of this blog post. I look forward to reading and answering your questions!

Interview with a Journalist – Kevin Newman

Kevin Newman is the former weekday anchor and executive editor for Global National. In May 2010 he announced he was leaving Global National. Now, a year later, Newman is set to be the next host of CTV’s Question Period. Newman will also put his interest in digital media to work as a Digital News Evangelist. Today I sat down with Mr. Newman for a phone interview. What follows is a question and answer format of my interview with the successful journalist.

1. What made you decide to become a journalist?

As a teenager I was always interested in current events and was a bit of a news junkie.

I liked watching election nights. In school I was on student’s council and I really liked being able to see things for myself and tell others about it.


2. Are there any moments, either when you were anchoring or reporting, that stand out for you in your career?

The election of President Obama stands out to me as historic and unlikely. I’ve met Nelson Mandella who is a gracious man.

Covering wars and conflicts has made me appreciate life and my country even more deeply.


3. Why the decision to leave Global National?

I was becoming interested in digital media and felt I had to leave my job at Global National to pursue that interest.


4. What will you be doing now in your new job at CTV?

I will have two part time jobs. I’ll be hosting a political show for CTV (Question Period) and also I will be engaging myself in digital media.


5. Any advice for aspiring journalists or journalists that are just entering the industry?

Know how to do as many forms of journalism and storytelling as possible.

Think of yourself more as tradespeople, learn a little of everything.


6. What is one part of the job that you love?

Meeting people and helping them share their stories.


7. What is one part of the job you dislike?

It takes time away from my family and can be really stressful working to a deadline every day.


8. Anything about yourself that people might not know about you, that you’d like to share? (I.e.  You have a Standard poodle).

I was an assistant manager at a McDonald’s before university.


Foot Injuries and Letting them Heal

So many of you by now know, I’ve injured my left foot. There is a cartilage tear with regards to my talus bone. People have been asking me how on earth did I injure myself in such a way. Well, my best guess is it’s from a fall I took at my first presser (press conference).

What a way to impress eh? So not cool…. I’m still grateful no one saw, except the reporter I was with from the Edmonton Journal.

Now I have journalism school coming up in a few weeks and dealing with a cartilage tear, which I’ve been told takes three months to heal. So I’ve taken to only walking when I have to, as per doctor’s orders. As a result, I am bored.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad. I’ve found episodes of an old TV sitcom I watched as a child, on YouTube (Blossom) and that was great. Though, I have grown really tired of playing Civilization 3. Once or twice is okay but umpteen times? No thanks.

I have been able to do some school shopping (supplies, new bag on wheels – the usual stuff). I just now wonder how I’m going to get around the campus. To be fair, I’m going to be carpooling for this first term to minimize the time spent walking on my bad foot. Plus I’ll be going to the campus on the West end of the city which is great.

I’m just not sure about getting around mostly because this whole injured foot type scenario is totally new to me. I guess I’ll have to see how I do when the time comes for classes to start in September. I’m still excited though…. nothing could change that!

Unexpected but Welcome Story

I learned a lot during my time with the Edmonton Journal. There was one story however, that seemed to get away. It came rather unexpectedly but was more than welcomed by me.

About a month ago I went on the streetcar in Edmonton, for my first time. Sitting at the station waiting for the streetcar to come, an elderly man asked to sit on the bench my brother and I were seated on. My brother got up, the man sat down. And thus began his story….

A World War two veteran, he had fought and been wounded during the Blitz in England. After being discharged from service shortly after being wounded, he then made the move to Leduc. He had heard of a good job there digging oil wells.  He was there when Leduc struck oil.

After that, he told us of meeting his wife. He was sitting in a bar, drinking a beer when she came walking in. The rest, as they say is history.

Now I would love it if I could meet with that gentleman again, learn his name and more about his life. His hopes for himself as a young man newly enlisted, dreams for a wonderful life together with a woman he loved and did he have any regrets. I guess I will never know the answers to those questions.

His after, is the story that came unexpectedly, but also got away from me.

Toddlers and Tiaras, or Spoiled Kids?

I’ve been watching Toddlers and Tiaras lately. I’ve also read comments online being made of the show. A vast number of people believe it is wrong to dress girls up in makeup, big poofy hairpieces, glittery dresses, etc. I’d tend to agree – and yet, not completely. Yes, I believe the fake tan, flippers, and hairpieces should not be meant for little girls (anywhere between a couple months to 8 years). Though, I do think there just might be something to the argument of “it builds confidence.”

Imagine having to go on stage in front of a crowd of people, you do not know; it’s not easy. I’ve been on stages before. I played piano in recitals for years when I was growing up. I’ve also sang in music festivals, school concerts and recitals. Looking back on that, those experiences being on stage instilled in me a confidence I might not have otherwise been given.

Though, it can be taken too far. Being told “You’re the prettiest” and “You’ll beat all the other girls (and boys)” must take its toll. Sure young children can naturally have tantrums and be otherwise unruly at times. Yet, when I watch Toddlers and Tiaras I cannot help but wonder if growing up in pageantry is making for some really big egos. I’ve literally seen girls crying on the show, when they didn’t win the big Grand Supreme title. Sure, it is a learning curve to know how to be a good sport. For those girls who are said to have done a whole boatload of pageants, surely they did not win them all? Kids will be kids but come on, learn to lose graciously. Do NOT whine, cry, stomp your feet or pout. It just looks downright silly.

Though in the end, I’m sure pageants will go on. Children will continue to put on the big dresses with way too many rhinestones, and makeup and their fake tans and flippers. Undoubtedly I will keep watching Toddlers and Tiaras. If for no other reason, than I am curious who will win.

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